Salesforce has launched IoT Explorer Edition, a tool for embedding IoT data in sales, service and marketing workflows.
It’s been almost four years since Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff whipped out a toothbrush in his keynote speech at the company’s Dreamforce 2013 conference, to illustrate a point about the future of smart objects, and two years since he launched IoT Cloud at Dreamforce 2015.
This week, however, some weeks ahead of Dreamforce 2017, Salesforce has announced a new initiative, IoT Explorer Edition, which company executives say is designed to help customers not just make sense of IoT data but also put it to work.
Moreover, it uses a “low code” way of generating IoT business workflows. In other words, non-technical employees should be able to connect to IoT-enabled sensors, devices and machines and incorporate the information that these ‘things’ convey into everyday tasks.
For example, IoT data from a delivery truck from an industrial laundry company might enable central controllers to identify its location, figure out how full it is, and ask the driver to make one more pick-up of bed linen from a local hotel. Or a local car dealership might be able to coordinate a marketing campaign for discounted servicing once a car that it sold reached a particular mileage.
Because this is Salesforce, there’s naturally a sales, service and marketing angle to all this. The business of keeping customers happy and the products they buy working for them is important to companies of all sizes and in many industries, so the marriage of IoT and customer relationship management (CRM) makes sense.
More importantly, Salesforce has real-life customers already using the technology and these are big-name, heavy-hitting industrial companies. Emerson is one; the $20.2 billion maker of heating and air conditioning systems is using IoT Explorer to deliver proactive service based on real-time diagnostics. In other words, if you’re connected air con system is on the blink, it’s possible that Emerson will know about it and may have already been in touch to organize a visit from an engineer.
Another IoT Explorer user is Schneider Electric, the €24 billion ($28.4 million) energy management and automation giant, which is now driving targeted sales campaigns that anticipate a customer’s next purchase based on the performance capacity of its existing electrical equipment.
Other companies involved in IoT Explorer pilots are Lippert Components, a company that makes components for RVs (recreational vehicles) and Rehrig Pacific, a maker of plastic pallets and containers.
Salesforce IoT Explorer Edition will be generally available from 17 October as an add-on to Salesforce’s various cloud products.